Giving is important for many travellers, especially in a country where there is very little in the way of a social safety net for the poor. However, it is important not to encourage begging. This is especially important with children. A child who makes money from tourists is likely to beg rather than attend school
Every city will have several charities to help orphans and other disadvantaged children, women, disabled people and for working animals, the American Fonduk in Fez or Spana in Marrakech. Some you can visit and volunteer to help for a day, some will appreciate any spare clothes, games, unwanted mobile phones (if you are coming with a half empty suitcase for shopping bring some stuff to leave here) and some will just appreciate a cash donation.
Your Riad or hotel should be able to point you in the right direction. Check the authenticity of any charity you choose to support carefully.
Recently a traveller intending to visit Morocco posted on a travel advice forum.
We are coming to The Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert regions I have heard before that people took ballpoint pens to give to the children. My question is; Do the children still like to receive ballpoint pens?
Our friend, the ever helpful Tim Cullis responded:
Pens are actually extremely cheap in Morocco and are plentiful. Kids don't need yet more pens, what you give out as gifts are sold on or swapped. So please please please do not hand out pens, sweeties and anything else to children, and don't hand out medicines to anyone. It causes utter mayhem for other travellers. I almost took the eye out of one begging girl who got too close to my motorbike on a corner and the handguard hit her on the temple.
|sign erected by the authorities asking you NOT to do this|
Translation: Don't make too much noise, keep a distance from wild animals, respect places of worship, avoid behaviour likely to shock locals, don't give to people--especially children--sweets, pens, drugs, so as not to encourage begging.